Natalie Imbruglia

The singer performs a stripped-back set to mark her anniversary as a recording artist at Manchester's Gorilla,
14 May

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This year marks two decades since Natalie Imbruglia released her international hit single Torn. The Australian singer and former soap actor (remember Beth from Neighbours?) has seemingly not aged and her fan base remains as loyal as they did during her heyday.

Tonight she performs a stripped-back acoustic set to mark her anniversary as a recording artist, playing an intimate show that feels as though it’s for her own enjoyment as much as anybody else’s. The stage is adorned with vintage lamps that make the venue look like a living room, carrying a personal vibe that makes everyone feels at home.

Her trio of accompanying musicians present themselves first, followed by Imbruglia after the opening notes of Wrong Impression begin. She waltzes around the room as she sings with a voice which has lost none of its charm over the years.

This short UK tour isn’t in promotion of any recent release although it does feature a few tracks from her last album, 2015’s Male. The album is a collection of cover versions by male artists’ songs, and a beautiful rendition of the bittersweet love song I Will Follow You into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie is a highlight of the show. In contrasting style is her performance of Daft Punk’s Instant Crush, during which the downbeat vocals of an electronica track are cleverly converted into an upbeat acoustic performance that works fantastically when it theoretically shouldn’t.

Elsewhere on the set list, Glorious is a slightly quaint but nevertheless enjoyable song with a sunny disposition and bags of energy that receives a warm response from her fans. Imbruglia tells the audience that Lukas was written by Coldplay but given to her when they decided the vocal was better suited to a female. Its musical arrangement and melody are instantly recognisable as the work of the London band but she makes it her own.

The singer is pleasantly chatty throughout the evening, sharing anecdotes and receiving her adoration humbly. Torn receives the biggest audience response – it still sounds as fresh as it did the late nineties and is a treat to hear live after Imbruglia’s notable absence from the live scene.

After a strong encore performance of two early tracks – Butterflies and Intuition – Imbruglia asks the crowd if they can guess which song will end the show. The devotees at the front of the stage correctly predict Big Mistake and it’s the perfect choice to draw the night to a close.

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